We have hit a milestone in the NBA schedule as we move through Christmas. So what better time to check in and analyze which players are hurting their teams, with poor on court decisions and simple skill errors which I tally up in my Coach Killer metric.
This metric allows us to identify those players who put up nice numbers in the box scores but may actually hurt their team both on and off the court with team chemistry.
The detail behind the Coach Killer metric can be found in my previous post:
In short we are trying to measure players who consistently make poor decisions and simple skill errors. These plays make coaches pull out their hair and can affect the overall chemistry of the team. Teammates drop heads and roll their eyes as they have seen these dumb plays all too often from serial offenders.
Now, other than being frustrated by players making these skill errors, it’s hard to gauge what harm they are causing the team. The Coach Killer metric puts a value on all of these poor plays and gives an overall calculation where we can start saying "This guy costs us 10 points a game from dumb plays".
The traits found in the coach killer metric are ones that can impact the team both on and off the court, but we shouldn’t just look at the players with high coach killing numbers. Those with low numbers could be the high IQ and great team chemistry guys that any front office would want on their team.
A lot of metrics today heavily favour a player who scores the ball heavily, this can mask deficiencies in their overall game and impact on the team. The Coach Killer metric look at players from a different angle and potentially allows us to evaluate players a little differently.
Below is this season’s data of how players are tracking per 36 minutes of court time through the Christmas break. The below tables are interactive and also compares last season per 36 minute numbers.
Highlights from above:
In terms of who’s numbers are worse than last season per 36 minutes, it’s a pretty clear group:
The biggest improvement has come from the below, all who have reduced their negative impact by at least 3 points per 36 minutes vs last season:
Finally, the 10 players in the league with the lowest coach killing numbers, all of which cost their team 2 or fewer points per 36 minutes
Let’s now take a look at how teams are tracking:
It’s no surprise to see OKC with league worst numbers as Russell Westbrook leads the way individually by such a great number.
Brooklyn has had the biggest increase vs last season, going up by 5.5 coach killer points per game. The main culprits being Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sean Kilpatrick and Luis Scola who are all well inside the worst 100 player in the league in this metric.
Toronto has jumped Dallas to be the best team in the league, averaging a low 25.8 coach killing points per game. Decreasing by 4 points per game vs last season with a big reason simply being Luis Scola moving to Brooklyn and replacing his minutes with rookie Pascal Siakam. Siakam averages a low 3.6 coach killing points per 36 min vs Scola’s near 7 points per game.
I understand this type of analysis isn’t for everyone, but I hope it gives some useful insights into the impact players are having on the court through decision making and skill errors, and how it may affect the overall chemistry of the locker room.
For those who are interested, here is the raw player data that is used to calculate the Coach Killer formula:
Thanks again to @nbastuffer for providing the play by play data.